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December 2019: Year in Review
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What's New with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Big Picture Overview⁠—from director Gordon Padelford

We know that for structural change to be successful we need to make our streets reflect the needs of all people.
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2019 Citywide Wins

Big Steps Towards Vision Zero

After the worst year in a decade for deaths and serious injuries on our city streets, the Mayor announced a major effort towards Vision Zero, including lowered speed limits on all arterials, cracking down on enforcement of drivers that run red lights, and creating a Vision Zero Task Force to address the issue like the public health crisis that it is.
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Safe Places for People to Walk and Roll

It’s unacceptable that one quarter of all streets in Seattle lack sidewalks. We advocated for and won an additional $11 million in funding for new sidewalks and accessibility improvements for arterials. Additionally, we advanced two Home Zone pilots and won funding to continue this cost effective program in 2020.
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Safe Routes to School:
New Staff for Public Schools

We also have good news to report about keeping kids happy and healthy walking and biking to school. We took the time this year to build relationships at ten schools across Seattle to learn more about each school community’s needs and work to mobilize caring parents, teachers, and neighbors. We’re already seeing results: five new school zone speeding cameras will be installed in 2020, and for the first time, there will now be a Seattle School District employee dedicated to organizing crossing guards, walking school buses, bike trains, and safety projects.
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Additional Systemic Changes

We’ve worked hard to combat the status quo through big systemic changes to our transportation system. By working with allied organizations such as MASS Coalition, we were able to pass a majority of the MASS Transportation Package, including new policies for construction and maintenance of our streets and intersections, and the structure of the Seattle Department of Transportation:

Complete Streets

Inspired by a Cambridge, Massachusetts ordinance, City Council passed an ordinance requiring that planned bike lanes are included in large repaving projects except in rare circumstances. This will save money and time for the City, and also make it significantly harder for political winds to delay or cancel planned bike routes.
 

Sidewalks Maintenance

This year, City Council required SDOT to develop a plan for addressing maintenance of our city’s sidewalks, including both removal of snow, ice, and vegetation and also a systemic, sustainable solution for fixing the 150,000 documented hazards on our sidewalks. These range from small cracks that people could trip on to places where the sidewalk is completely impassable, especially for people using wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
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Bike Path Maintenance

Similarly, Seattle City Council also required SDOT to present a plan for the maintenance of existing bicycle infrastructure. Currently, maintenance is reactive and complaint-based, resulting in bike routes that are hard to use, unwelcoming, and sometimes erased by the passage of time.
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Traffic Signal Policy

We’re also advocating for a better traffic signals policy, so people don’t have to wait so long to cross the street, don’t have to push “beg buttons,” and other tweaks that will make it safer and more convenient for people to cross the street. This year, SDOT began implementing “head starts” for people walking at every intersection, which give pedestrians the green light a few seconds before vehicles.
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Funding for SDOT’s Transportation Equity Program

As a part of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, SDOT created a Transportation Equity Program, and this year, assembled a workgroup to identify and address systemic and structural equity issues. Given that race and racism still play a huge role in determining a person’s ability to get where they need to go in Seattle, we successfully advocated for the funding needed to continue this program and ensure that the workgroup has staff and resources needed to continue this important work and implement solutions department-wide.
 

Reports from the Neighborhoods - South

Southeast Seattle Bike Connections

Built this year: Two East-West protected bike lane routes in SE Seattle (S Columbian Way and S Othello St), connecting people to light rail stations and other community destinations; and a North-South protected bike lane along Wilson Ave.

Coming soon: Southeast Seattle currently does not have a single safe and convenient connection for people riding bikes to the rest of Seattle. We advocated for, and won, $10.35 million dollars that will go towards building the Georgetown to South Park Trail, the Beacon Ave Trail, or a Martin Luther King Jr. Way South protected bike lane–or partially constructing some combination of all three! There is still more work to be done to fully bridge the $32 million gap for bike projects that were included in the 2019 Bicycle Implementation Plan (released earlier this year without allocated funding), but this is a huge step forward.
 

A Safe Crossing to the Duwamish Longhouse

We advocated with the Duwamish Tribe for a safe crossing of West Marginal Way SW between the Duwamish Longhouse on one side of the street and Herring House Park, parking lots, and the Duwamish Trail on the other. Tour groups and school field trips are unwilling to risk the danger, which limits the Tribe’s economic and engagement opportunities. Together with local SNG groups West Seattle Bike Connections, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, and other partners, we were able to secure funding to design the crossing, which includes train tracks and multiple lanes of busy freight traffic.
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A Community Effort for the Georgetown to South Park Trail

Neighbors from Georgetown and South Park made significant strides this year towards the long-awaited Georgetown-South Park Trail. After extensive community-led outreach through in-person and online surveys, and outreach at events in English and Spanish, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets announced SDOT’s proposed routing at a community celebration and installed wayfinding signs along the future route. The project secured funding from two different sources and will be constructed in 2021-2022.

Pedestrian Safety for Rainier

Thanks in part to years worth of community outreach and advocacy by SNG’s local group, Rainier Valley Greenways, safety improvements were made to a number of intersections along Rainier Ave S — including built curb bulbs and a raised crosswalk at Graham & Rainier, a built curb bulb and rebuilt sidewalk at Holly & Rainier, and new bus lanes along Rainier. See more details about the planned improvements along Rainier Ave. In January, look for a transportation and racial equity presentation by Rainier Valley Greenways at the annual MLK Day celebration at Garfield High School.

Safe Routes to Light Rail

Thanks to your grassroots advocacy, Sound Transit will be (partially) funding better walking and biking access to light rail stations in Southeast Seattle. It is part of a larger slate of improvements to the whole Sound Transit system, and will be a huge advancement for safe and convenient access to transit.

South Park Home Zone

The Home Zone Pilot had a successful first year! Home Zones are an idea brought to Seattle by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to build cost-effective, community-based solutions for neighborhoods without safe places to walk. We brought South Park residents together to collaboratively plan and design their pilot Home Zone. Planning activities included a BBQ meet-up at Marra Farm, a walking tour of the proposed improvements, a focus group meet-up at Concord International Elementary, and lots of door-to-door outreach. In early 2020, the community will hold a hands-on workshop to build planter boxes, celebrate the new speed humps, and review designs for further street safety improvements. Read more about Seattle’s Home Zone Program in Next City.

Reports from the Neighborhoods - Central

Three Huge Connections for the
Basic Bike Network

The 2nd Ave bike lane now connects to South Lake Union in the north (via 9th Ave to the Westlake Trail), to Capitol Hill in the east (via Pike St to the Broadway protected bike lanes), and to the International District in the south (via 5th Ave and Main St to the King St neighborhood greenway and Dearborn protected bike lanes)! These connections have encouraged 1,700 more people to bike on 2nd Ave every day.

Connecting to the Seattle Center on Thomas St

Everyone should be able to get safely and conveniently to the Seattle Center and the new arena that is opening in 2021, but right now there is no family-friendly east-west route. That’s why we are so excited that we won funding and a new design for Thomas St that will include a safe crossing of Aurora Ave, a new plaza, and a thirty-two feet wide walking and biking path. This win was made possible thanks to Councilmember Sally Bagshaw’s incredible leadership for this project, and support from the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Uptown Alliance, and many others.

A Community Comes Together at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary

This year, Central Seattle Greenways collaborated with parents, administrators, neighborhood allies, and community organizations to help get kids safely to school at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary. The school sits at the intersection of three major arterial streets, a location so dangerous that crossing guards have been hit by speeding vehicles here, but kids were also facing pressure from gang recruiters. Community-identified solutions include infrastructure improvement recommendations, walking school buses, and more.

Queen Anne Greenways’ Annual Play Streets

This summer, Queen Anne Greenways once again filled the streets with community fun at two annual Playstreets. The group closed a block of 1st Ave West adjacent to the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market to cars and opened it up for family fun and community building. Relatedly, SDOT is working to encourage more people centered street events through their revamped People Streets Program.

Sidewalk Cafes for Seattle

In 2019, the city made it easier for small businesses to create sidewalk-cafe style seating while maintaining access for people walking and rolling. Now there are over 400 permitted sidewalk cafes, many in central Seattle, which help to enliven our streets as places for people!

Reports from the Neighborhoods - North

Broadview Home Zone

The Home Zone Pilot had a successful first year! Home Zones are an idea brought to Seattle by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to build cost-effective, community-based solutions for neighborhoods without safe places to walk. We brought Broadview residents together to collaboratively plan and design their pilot Home Zone. The neighborhood celebrated this fall with a kickoff event, featuring speed humps, planter boxes and signage. Construction is still underway, and will be completed in 2020. Catch this write-up about Seattle’s Home Zone Program in Next City.

Access to Future Light Rail Stations

2019 saw the construction of protected bike lanes along NE 65th St and a new neighborhood greenway along N 100th St connecting to the future light rail stations in the Roosevelt and Northgate neighborhoods!

Record Broken for Fremont Bridge Bike Route

Investments in bike infrastructure are working! The Fremont Bridge bike counter hit the one million mark a whole month earlier than last year. Total 2019 counts are up 12% over last year, and counts for Nov 2019 (after completion of connecting routes downtown) were a full 20% higher than the previous all-time record. Neighbors from Queen Anne Greenways, Ballard-Fremont Greenways, and Cascade Bicycle Club came together to hand out snacks and goodies, thanking people as they rode their bikes past.

A Neighborhood Greenway for 6th Ave NW

A team of neighbors in Ballard came together to address cut-through traffic and speeding in their neighborhood. After extensive community outreach and organizing, SDOT will construct a neighborhood greenway on 6th Ave (NW 43rd to NW 50th St). The neighbors will continue to push for the next section next year, to NW 58th St, West Woodland Elementary, and beyond. Read more on this inspiring community effort.

Safe Routes to Whitman Middle School

Whitman Middle School students now have a safe and accessible way to cross busy Holman Road. This crossing was the passion project of Ballard-Fremont Greenways member Selena Carsiotis.

 

 

Around the City

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots coalition of neighborhood groups that plan and advocate for safe, equitable, and comfortable streets for all. Progress is happening across the city thanks to people like you. Click here to get connected with an SNG group in your neighborhood.

"Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is the largest force making Seattle a safe place to walk/bike/drive/live" - current donor
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